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  • Crook chasing back-to-back titles Crook chasing back-to-back titles
    LEADING Tasmanian Junior Driver Conor Crook is out to make it back-to-back junior drivers titles in the island state. And he extended his lead... Crook chasing back-to-back titles
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    LEADING Tasmanian Junior Driver Conor Crook is out to make it back-to-back junior drivers titles in the island state.

    And he extended his lead on this season’s title when he partnered talented three-year-old Awayandrideyourself in Launceston last night.

    Punters installed the gelded son of Mach Three as the $1.06 favourite in the national rating 30 to 54 race that was restricted to three-year-olds.

    Crook allowed the pacer to come out under his own steam into the 1680m event and was able to sit one-out and one-back soon after the start, the only move Crook made was at the 400m mark where he eased the Rohan Hillier trained pacer three-wide.

    The favourite let down quickly to put his head in front before switching off late to defeat Jigamaroo by one-metre.

    “He did it pretty easily, he pulled up when he hit the front which he tends to do, when they come at him he lifts again which he did tonight,” winning driver Conor Crook said post-race.

    It was the second start back this campaign for Awayandrideyourself after being a beaten favourite at his first run back in Hobart on 28 July.

    “It was good to get a win on him after his first-up failure,” Crook said.

    Crook is based in Victoria for at least the next three months while the Ben Yole stable campaigns a team of horses there, with Crook doing the bulk of the stable driving.

    But he is hoping to secure back-to-back Tasmanian Junior driver premierships, there are three meetings left and Crook has a two-win lead over Samantha Gangell.

    “I’m unsure if I will come back for the two meetings in Hobart but I will more than likely be back for the last meeting of the season in Launceston,” said Crook.

    Awayandrideyourself is trained at Beauty Point by Rohan Hillier, whose brother Troy caused a minor upset in the free-for-all race of the night with Illegal Immigrant.

    The race was named the Jubilee Bakery Free For All after Troys successful Beaconsfield Bakery.

    Punters installed Harjeet as the $1.26 favourite and his trainer-driver Todd Rattray was happy to race outside the leader in a race that was run at a solid tempo.

    Troy Hillier was happy to follow Harjeet every step of the way in the one-out one-back trail before finishing the race off strongly in the home straight to record a half-head victory.

    “He got tired on the line but he was probably entitled too,” trainer-driver Troy Hillier said after the win.

    Hillier has no major plans going forward with the gelded son of American Ideal.

    By DUNCAN DORNAUF

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